Any movement that puts its head above the parapet and seeks to shift or tackle power is going to face some sort of repression. That repression is going to be quite sophisticated so activist groups need to anticipate it and develop strong legal support structures. – Anthony Kelly, 2022
For more than 40 years Peace Brigades International (PBI) has supported activists facing torture, death and detainment in Latin America, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. A key strategy has been the use of ‘protective accompaniment’, which involves volunteers spending at least one year in a country. During that time they accompany activists in their daily lives and carry out ‘interrelated roles of witnessing, observing, reporting, and protecting’ to prevent authorities from wielding political violence. Drawing on this, and the experiences of the communities and activists it accompanies, PBI and its members have built up a great deal of knowledge regarding the means through which repression can be countered, overcome and turned back on persecutors.
In this talk Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS) campaigner Anthony Kelly discusses how lessons from PBI’s experience, practice and principles can be applied to understanding and resisting repression in an Australian context. These include having observers present during protests, asserting pressure throughout authorities’ chains of command, exposing human rights violations, and providing legal and other support to arrestees and imprisoned activists.
This talk was originally given during an evening of talks on the topic of ‘Climate, Capitalism and the Future” at the Black Spark Cultural Centre. The event was organized as a fundraiser by Community Radio 3CR programs Stick Together and Uprise Radio in 2022.
PBI has learnt an incredible amount, as an organisation, about political repression and about how movements withstand it. How they survive, how they keep going. There’s an enormous amount to learn from activists in the Global South, from all of those movements that have experienced deadly state repression and continue their work. – Anthony Kelly, 2022
- What is this thing called Activist Legal Support?
- Legal Guides for Activists about Protests
- Street Medic Pro-Tips: Medical and First Aid Support at Protests and Direct Actions
- Jail Solidarity and Supporting Prisoners
- Anti oppression work
- Legal action
- Lessons learned_Reviews_Reflections
- Movements_Campaigns - Peace
- Peace Brigades International (Organisation)